I thought it was the time of year at first. My various smaller distributors were out of core product. Then the problems persisted, for weeks. Entire product lines were out-of-stock and still are. From what I've heard, many game distributors are on the ropes, especially East Coast ones, due to the economy in the northeast and poor weather. The national distributors are more diversified and aren't feeling as much pain, but there is pain. This is not the national economy effecting the game industry, or a possible recession. I still think this industry is somewhat immune to that, provided people still have jobs. I'm told the problems are caused by creaky regional, rust-belt economies pulling down regional suppliers. We should expect distributor closures and more consolidation soon, I'm told.
Everything should work out fine as long as the manufacturers don't get spooked and stop pumping product into the system. The "doomsday scenario" is a collapse of the distribution system, but even that wouldn't be the end of the world. The most likely scenario would be a a comic industry like centralization of power between one or two major distributors. We even know their names. Many publishers and manufacturers have been working to set up direct accounts with retailers for several years now, and savvy retailers have learned to take advantage of this. It's inconvenient right now, but if problems persist, it may be the only way to get product.